Image of The Souls of Black Folk

The Souls of Black Folk

by William E. B. Du Bois

“Few books make history and fewer still become the foundational texts for the movements and struggles of an entire people....” One such great work was The Souls of Black Folk by William EB Du Bois. Published in 1903, it is a powerful and hard-hitting view of sociology, race and American history. It became the cornerstone of the civil rights movement and when Du Bois attended the first National Negro Conference in 1909, he was already well-known as a proponent of full and unconditional equality for African Americans. In the following year, he became one of the co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In fact, the word “colored” was suggested by Du Bois instead of “black” to include people of color everywhere in the world. Du Bois was appointed Director of Publicity and Research of the NAACP and his main duty was to edit and bring out NAACP's monthly journal The Crisis. The journal also served as a vehicle for his thoughts on socialism, black activism, unionization, inter-racial marriage, women's rights and combating racism in all spheres of life. The Souls of Black Folk is a series of essays on different subjects. The theories and ideas contained in it went on to become the key concepts that guided strategy and programs for civil rights protests in America. In this work, Du Bois discards Booker T Washington's concepts of “accommodation” of white supremacy and propounds that this would only lead to further oppression of African Americans. He also felt that human rights are to be enjoyed by all and neither “given” not “taken” and it is below a human being's dignity to beg for rights. The publication of this book had an immediate and devastating effect in that it polarized the movement into two distinctly different groups. The more conservative and less confrontational approach advocated by Washington was rejected by those who found Du Bois' more aggressive ideas better suited to their thinking. The writing style is extremely lyrical and poetic, with interesting turns of phrase. The ideas are thought provoking and stimulating, while presenting the reader with little known facts about African American history and sociology. Du Bois talks eloquently about “double consciousness,” the awareness that African Americans experience as citizens of America and also as a race apart. Du Bois speaks confidently as a proud American but also as one who is supremely conscious of the ills that plague American society. The Souls of Black Folk is an important historical document that provides great insights into the building of America as a nation.

Book Details



Original Language


Published In



William E. B. Du Bois image

W. E. B. Du Bois, born William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, was a prominent figure in American history known for his tireless efforts as a sociologist, civil rights activist, historian, and Pan-Africanis...

More on William E. B. Du Bois

Listen/Download Audiobook

Read by:
Playback Speed 1.0
  • Select Speed

Related books

My Bondage and My Freedom Cover image

My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass

Unflinchingly unveils the riveting account of his life as a former slave turned abolitionist leader. With a captivating voice that resonates with unwa...

Anti-Dictator: The Discours sur la servitude voluntaire Cover image

Anti-Dictator: The Discours sur la servitude voluntaire by Étienne de La Boétie

It is a book about the fight against dictatorship and tyranny. It was written by Étienne de La Boétie in the 16th century, and it remains an important...

Anton Tchekhov: and other essays Cover image

Anton Tchekhov: and other essays by Lev Shestov

In "Anton Tchekhov and Other Essays" by Lev Shestov, journey into the enigmatic depths of the human psyche and explore the boundless complexities of l...

Mark Twain: A Biography - Volume III Cover image

Mark Twain: A Biography - Volume III by Albert Bigelow Pain

This compelling third volume continues the epic journey of a man who embodied the spirit of America in the 19th century. From the glistening banks of...

The Ordeal of Mark Twain  Cover image

The Ordeal of Mark Twain by Van Wyck Brooks

Brooks attributes Clemens' increasing sense of pessimism to the repression of his creative spirit due largely to his mother and his wife.

The Pleasures of Ignorance Cover image

The Pleasures of Ignorance by Robert Lynd

In his witty and insightful book, The Pleasures of Ignorance, Robert Lynd argues that there is a certain joy to be found in not knowing everything. He...

The Dunbar Speaker and Entertainer Cover image

The Dunbar Speaker and Entertainer by Alice Dunbar Nelson

The book contains a variety of works, including speeches that Dunbar Nelson gave at events such as the Women's International League for Peace and Free...

The Slavery of Our Times Cover image

The Slavery of Our Times by Leo Tolstoy

This little book shows, in a short, clear, and systematic manner, how the principle of Non-Resistance, about which Tolstoy has written so much, is rel...

The Free Press Cover image

The Free Press by Hilaire Belloc

I propose to discuss in what follows the evil of the great modern Capitalist Press, its function in vitiating and misinforming opinion and in putting...

The Imitation of Christ Cover image

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis

The Imitation of Christ is a Christian devotional book by Thomas à Kempis, first composed in Latin (as De Imitatione Christi) c. 1418–1427. It is a ha...

Reviews for The Souls of Black Folk

No reviews posted or approved, yet...